atyaprakash Nayak, the state spokesperson of the Congress and the party’s Puri Lok Sabha candidate is targeting the BJP and the BJD while campaigning for his party. In an interview to Orissa POST, Nayak speaks about his vision for developing Puri.
OP: Your rivals seem to be more aggressive in campaigning as compared to the Congress. How will you counter this?
Yes. The BJP’s activities in the state have increased manifold after they came to power at the Centre and their national leaders have visited the state frequently. The same is the case with the BJD. Look at the money they have spent on advertisements, campaigning and other things. They are spending big. From where do they get it? Both parties suffer credibility crisis. They make more noise, but their credibility is very low.
OP: Do you think the BJP’s Sambit Patra is your main adversary or is it Pinaki Mishra?
The election is not a battle among the three major parties. The main issues are governance, corruption and other things. During Pinaki Mishra’s last two terms there was very little development here. There was a series of scams like the Nabakalebara scam, distribution of Jagannath land to private players and others. It is due to this corruption that Puri has not developed.
OP: What are your promises to the voters of Puri?
I want to see corruption and crime stopped. If the crime rate is high there can be no development. The area still doesn’t have a medical college. I want to improve healthcare and reduce unemployment.
OP: The BJP’s Puri candidate Sambit Patra has recently stirred a controversy by using religious symbols. How do you see his entry into Puri politics?
He was the national spokesperson of the BJP, but he has never come to Puri. He has never worked for the people of Puri. This parachuted candidate is injecting religion into politics which is unfortunate. First of all this is a violation of the model code of conduct. This is not how elections are fought. Come to the ground, work for the people, gain their confidence and fight elections.
OP: Do you think the Congress is relevant in Puri? Why should the voters of Odisha vote for the Congress?
I can see that people want a change. People want Congress because it has delivered in the past. People have started realising that it is the Congress which can deliver and not the BJP or the BJD. Of course the Congress is relevant, and there is no question about it. Congress will see a huge surge in its vote share in the state.
OP: BJP President Amit Shah has been frequently coming to Odisha for the last three years to boost his party’s fortune. But Rahul Gandhi comes here only rarely.
That is an interesting question. When Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi started coming to Odisha, the media was asking why he was visiting the state so frequently and when his visits became less people started questioning that too and compared it with that of BJP leaders. He has always given attention to party affairs in the state.